Golden Globes 2021: controversies, conference-calls and technical glitches

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By George Lanigan, Third Year, English

A global pandemic couldn’t stop the Golden Globes exasperating film and television fans. The yearly awards always manage to be controversial and 2021’s ceremony was no different.

When the nominations were announced, there was a huge backlash surrounding nominations for the critically-panned Emily in Paris and the highly contentious Music. A petition with over 133,000 signatures called for the nomination of the latter, a film by Sia, to be rescinded from the Best Musical or Comedy Film category, calling it ‘severely ableist.’

Lily Collins in Emily in Paris (2020) | Courtesy of IMDb

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that organises and votes on the Golden Globes, also faced criticism as it was revealed they did not have a single Black member amongst them. The group is simultaneously facing a lawsuit accusing them of corruption. Despite such controversy, the ceremony went ahead, offering a sign of things to come when the Oscar nominations are revealed on Monday March 15.

The ceremony was a combination of in-person and video calls, hosted in two separate cities by Amy Poehler in Los Angeles and Tina Fey in New York. There were predictable technical glitches in the chaotic three-hour show, including Daniel Kaluuya, who began his acceptance speech for his best supporting performance in Judas and the Black Messiah on mute.

Despite the fierce debate surrounding the nominations, there was little criticism of the chosen winners. In the film category the big winners of the night were Nomadland and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Nomadland, the story of a woman living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad, won for Best Drama, alongside Best Director, as Chloé Zhao became only the second ever female recipient of the award, and the first-ever Asian recipient. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, the sequel to the hugely popular 2006 mockumentary, won for Best Comedy or Musical, and also took home Best Actor (Musical or Comedy) for Sacha Baron Cohen, who called out the overwhelming whiteness of the judging committee regardless.

Frances McDormand in Nomadland | Courtesy of IMDb

Other highlights in the film section included Chadwick Boseman posthumously winning Best Actor (Drama) for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Soul taking home two awards, for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score.

Compassion and vulnerability is in the heart of 'Nomadland'
'Judas and the Black Messiah' grabs you by the neck and never lets up

Yet again in the television section, The Crown featured heavily, winning for Best Drama Television Series and in three of the four acting categories for which it was eligible. Other multiple winners in television were The Queen’s Gambit (Best Miniseries and Best Actress in a Miniseries) and Schitt’s Creek (Best Musical or Comedy Series and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy).

As well as the British winners for The Crown, John Boyega took home Best Supporting Performance in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film for his role in BBC’s anthology series Small Axe. This is his first Golden Globe – a well-deserved win.

Featured: IMDb


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